April 29, 2016

Wayne State University hosting 700 school children to promote prevention of childhood obesity and the importance of regular exercise

An estimated 700 Metro Detroit schoolchildren will converge onto Wayne State University’s Matthaei Physical Education Center on Wednesday, May 4 to participate in a worldwide event promoting the prevention of childhood obesity and the importance of regular exercise.

The annual event, called “All Children Exercising Simultaneously” (ACES) Day, draws thousands of elementary school students to sites globally for exercise and promotion of physical activity in schools.

WSU’s Center for School Health in the College of Education, and WSU Athletics, are partnering with the Michigan Fitness Foundation and Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out to co-host the morning event scheduled to run from 9:45 to 11 a.m. The program will conclude with a yoga exercise regimen beginning at 10:15 a.m.

Schools participating in the physical activity include:

  • Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
  • Keidan Special Education Center
  • Gesu Catholic Center
  • Highland Park Renaissance Academy
  • Allen Academy
  • Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Academy
  • Detroit Leadership Academy
  • Detroit Christ the King Catholic School
  • Starr Detroit Academy 

Joining the third through fifth grade students will be various civic, government, educational and health leaders including: M. Roy Wilson, WSU president; Mike Duggan, City of Detroit mayor; Debbie Dingell, U.S. Congresswoman; Bill Schuette, Michigan attorney general; Danialle Karmanos, founder and CEO, Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out; and Luanne Ewald, interim CEO of the Children's Hospital of Michigan-DMC.

“We are excited to support this year’s ACES day,” said Nate McCaughtry, assistant dean, Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies and Center for School Health director. “The mission of informing kids about the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating habits is at the heart of our day-to-day work here in Detroit, and we look forward to helping excite so many young people about healthy lifestyles. The ACES day programming is an excellent vehicle for us to raise awareness about the issue of childhood obesity and take action to address it with our co-sponsors.”

ACES Day was created by physical education teacher Len Saunders in 1989 as a method of motivating children to exercise. ACES takes place on the first Wednesday in May as part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month along with National Physical Education Week. It has been labeled as "the world's largest exercise class" by the media.

Since 1989, millions of children from all over the world exercise together to promote proper health and fitness habits. With the obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world, children's fitness plays a major role in fighting heart disease.

“For children, 60 minutes of physical activity every day is critical,” said J.J. Tighe, president and CEO of the Michigan Fitness Foundation. “The Michigan Fitness Foundation is grateful for the support of Wayne State University and Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out for ACES Day. Their commitment helps children appreciate how enjoyable physical activity can be, and develop healthy habits for life. It's great to see hundreds of children on the field getting active and having so much fun.”

“I'm thrilled that Work It Out has been selected to guide the students in yoga for ACES Day in Detroit,” said Karmanos. “The thought of seeing hundreds of youth on yoga mats practicing alongside each other is outstanding. ACES Day is the perfect example of collaboration with organizations that know the importance of children leading healthy and active lives.”  

Support from Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan allows schools participating in ACES Day to receive free planning materials, including an online idea kit for teachers, educational newsletters and stickers for every participant.

ACES Day links with another major health event held at the university. In partnership with the city of Detroit, WSU will host the inaugural Mayor’s Summit on Health Inequality on May 2-3. Led by WSU President Wilson and Mayor Duggan, health disparity researchers will gather with officials from Detroit’s department of public health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and key community health organizations to address Detroit’s substantial health disparities. 

The Michigan Fitness Foundation

The Michigan Fitness Foundation works to inspire active lifestyles and healthy food choices through education, environmental change, community events and policy leadership. Learn more about the Michigan Fitness Foundation at www.michiganfitness.org.

Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out

Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out, in partnership with the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, promotes optimum health in mind, body and spirit through a comprehensive yoga-based approach that reduces anxiety, prevents childhood obesity and increases self-esteem.  DKWIO is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that delivers top-quality programming to provide children the tools to make healthy choices. http://www.dkwio.org/

Wayne State University

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.


Matt Lockwood
Phone: 313-577-9098
Email: mlockwood@wayne.edu

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